A record of wildlife in my garden and various trips to the Warwickshire countryside and occasionally further afield.
"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
From "Auguries of Innocence"
by William Blake
Saturday, 24 May 2014
Last year I registered with Plantlife to take part in their Wildflowers Count Survey. There have been a few changes this year as the Count has been incorporated into the National Plant Survey Scheme. Last year there were just 99 species to look for during the survey but the list has been extended this year and species are arranged by habitat type so I was looking for around 200 species. Luckily, I keep the same 1 km grid square as last year. The survey will help various botanical organisations learn more about where wildflowers are growing, measure the condition of the UK's wildflowers and their habitats and advise Uk and national governments on the state of the natural environment using plants as indicators.
Again this year I've elected to survey by following a Wildflowers path where you work out a 1km walk through the grid square and record the plants you see from the list of 200 within 2 metres to the side of the path you are following and make a note of the different habitats.
My 1 kilometre route starts in Brueton Park, Solihull, where the start of the work includes a lake and amenity grassland. I then follow a public footpath through woodland and alongside the River Blythe, past grassland and scrub, through more woodland and past meadows and finishing off in another section of wood. Apart from the constant drone of the nearby M42 you feel as though you are in the heart of the countryside even though its only a mile from Solihull Town Centre.
A very muddy footpath through the woods!
The River Blythe - most of the time it runs more than 2 metres from the path.
Leaving the woodland to walk past buttercup-filled meadows.
On this photo you can see how close the M42 is at this part of the walk.
Cow parsley and hawthorn line the path.
Photos of a few of the species I saw
Buttercup and beetle! There were two species of Buttercup along the walk - Meadow and Creeping
Wild Garlic (or Ramsons)
Cow Parsley and Buttercup Meadow
I spotted 33 species that were on the list and still have quite a few grasses, ferns and sedges to identify. I shall return again in 6/8 weeks time when more species should be in flower to re-survey.
A few species that aren't at the moment on the list (2014 is a transition year for the survey and more changes will be made for 2015).
The first part of the walk is close to back gardens and quite a few plants are garden escapees such as this Purple Toothwort
and Fringe Cup
I didn't take my binoculars as I wanted to concentrate on flowers but there were quite a few damsel and dragonflies too far away to identify plus this Drinker Moth caterpillar
Spider of unknown species - my spider id skills are more or less non-existent!
Tiny beetles on a buttercup flower
For those who enjoyed Edith Holden's "Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" and "Nature Notes" she often used to walk along this stretch of the River Blythe. One of these days when I have more time I will return to finish off the series of posts I did on the areas where she used to walk. There are still quite a few locations I haven't yet visited.
For more information on Plantlife and the survey please visit www.plantlife.org.uk
Thanks to Tony for help on Fringe Cup and Dave (via Twitter) for help with identification on plants and tree saplings not yet in flower
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.